Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Pray Without Hurting God's Ears - BIG Ideas on Faith No. 4

What is prayer? Why pray? How do I pray to God? These were the questions I once asked on a regular basis, and they form the basis for No. 4 of our collection of BIG Ideas on Faith.

What is Prayer? Prayer is a conversation between you and God. Some cynics chuckle and say you're praying to someone that cannot be seen, and for a discussion along those lines read the following post on 'Evidence of the Existence of God'. My assumption here is to presume you believe in the existence of God, and that you are reading this post because you are somewhat curious to see what I have to say about prayer. Prayer is the communication between God and his people. Randy Hatchett in the Holman Bible Dictionary says that dialogue is essential to prayer (as opposed to monologue - you know, rattling off your prayer wish list of the need for new cars and winning the lottery).

Without seeming condescending, here are some simple prayers that one might say in a given situation:
  • Lord, please bless my family
  • God, I need to experience your peace right now.
  • Jesus please intervene in the life of my cousin; he's going wayward.
  • Holy Spirit please let me know your power, and experience your grace.
Why Pray? There are many reasons why you might pray. Personally, the main reason people of God pray, is because they want to be close to Jesus. That's a statement that rolls off the tongue, but in fact it's worthy of deep consideration. Daily prayer is about being close to a Saviour who is still alive today. The resurrected Christ is alive in the hearts of Christians now. They can verify this through the experiences they have had, like 'the guilt being washed away', or the 'burdens being lifted', or 'I just knew God was with me'. Christians pray because of the deep passion to be close to the God who created them.

With that prayer as the most important, here are some other reasons a follower of Jesus might pray:
  • Prayer for healing (James 5:14)
  • Prayer for the lost to be saved (John 3:16)
  • Prayer to know the direction (James 1:5)
  • Prayer for help (Acts 2:21)
  • Prayer for the presense of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
  • Prayer for strength, comfort, peace, justice, power, grace, compassion and love
Lastly: How do I Pray? You pray either by voicing out your prayers, or within your spirit/soul. If you begin to acknowledge that God is the creator of the Universe, and that Jesus came to take away your sins, I believe God will begin to open up your eyes to experiences, ideas, understandings that you never would have previously conceived! One tip on prayer: Start praying now!

Here's the BIG Idea No. 4 on Prayer: Mark 11:24 (MSG) - 'That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything.'

<-- Why did Jesus die on the cross? BIG Idea No. 3
--> The Word of God is Sharp! BIG Idea No. 5

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